For those of you who need a recap of the action, Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso leaped to meet a cross from a teammate and in the process, significantly elbowed Hector Bellerin out of the game. On another day, Alonso could have been yellow carded, but the referee on this occasion deemed it legal and granted Chelsea the goal.
Many Arsenal fans are disappointed with the referee’s decision to grant the goal despite Alonso’s arm clearly whacking Bellerin before he connected with the ball. However, there is also the fact that the defender intended no malice on his Spanish colleague and in his desire to connect with the cross.
The two views have their own subscribers but it shouldn’t matter as Arsenal’s defeat to Chelsea was not something out of the blue. The conscious observers know that Arsenal’s build up to the game wasn’t very convincing and the performance was anything but satisfying. We analyze why the first goal was expected and should be looked at as an eventuality rather than a controversy:
Unconvincing Start To The Game
Although the start was better than the Watford game, there was still not enough fluidity in the game and their passing suffered due to the pace at which the game was being played throughout. Arsenal are at their best when they move the ball around at lightning speeds, something that we haven’t seen in a long time now.
Nacho Monreal has not looked very sharp for a while now but still gets picked ahead of Kieran Gibbs. Expensive summer signing Shkodran Mustafi too had some clumsy moments and Francis Coquelin was being run ragged. The first goal saw Bellerin left alone to defend the aerial threat as Laurent Koscielny was pulled out wide that left his colleague with the on-rushing Alonso.
Lack Of Belief Throughout The Side
Chelsea played like men while Arsenal served an undercooked dish that was hardly befitting the occasion. Arsene Wenger’s got to tighten up the performances and fire up the players significantly to avoid a repeat against Bayern Munich.
Lack Of Creativity Due To Nerves
Mesut Özil is the heartbeat of the side but he couldn’t influence the game enough as the rest of the team flopped under pressure and as a result couldn’t complete the basics. While Özil and Alexis Sanchez will be blamed for the defeat extensively, we must remember that it was a collective failure at the end. There was hardly any cohesion in the attack that was looking to be far too elaborate at times rather than getting the ball out of their feet quickly and keeping possession. Credit to the Chelsea defense who played very well with and without the ball.
Unless this Arsenal side produce consistent performances by doing the basics right, they will continue to flop on big occasions regardless of the refereeing decisions. The game is a reminder of just how fragile the belief is in the group and something needs to be done about that immediately by Wenger and co.